Sherman’s, a family-owned furniture, mattress, appliance, and electronics retailer with three locations in central Illinois, knew it had happy customers. For years the company had tracked and measured customer satisfaction through a net promoter survey.
Unfortunately, the satisfaction numbers from those surveys weren’t reflected in the business’ online reviews. It wasn’t that Sherman’s had bad reviews, but they definitely weren’t representative of the overall quality of customer service consumers were receiving.
“We worked for six or seven years to build up our reviews to what they were,” said David Weiss, marketing manager for Sherman’s. “We had a 4.2 rating on Google at our Peoria location, which isn’t horrible, but we knew our reviews should be better than that.”
FINDING A BETTER WAY
Sherman’s had tried a number of different tactics to improve its online presence, but conversions weren’t as high as they would like. Weiss feels that this was because customers found the process too difficult or time-consuming.
“We would email customers a link to Google or Facebook, but a lot of people wouldn’t follow it,” related Weiss.
“What we found was that our customers didn’t want to to take the time to sign into their accounts to leave a review, so we set out in search of a tool that would simplify the process.”
Weiss had heard about Podium from another furniture dealer in Austin who had been having success with the platform. What stood out the most was the ability to send out invitations via a text message that points customers directly to the online review sites and eliminated common barriers they had run into before, such as logging in, finding the right business, etc.
SET UP WAS A BREEZE
With the help of an account executive, Weiss was able to quickly get their account set up and the relevant review sites added to the text flow. Sherman’s also needed to set up about 50 delivery and service techs with access to the app – something that Weiss was able to do in under an hour.
Adoption of the platform was pretty quick since collecting reviews is now part of their overall compensation package. To get employees even more engaged, Sherman’s offers these frontline employees $5 for every quality review attributed to them — something Podium’s Leaderboard and Attribution features help track.
“This is a significant investment, but it causes our employees to go into each job with the mindset of what do I need to do to blow this customer away and get a good review,” said Weiss. “This pays off in a lot of different ways for us. Obviously, it’s a better experience for the customer, and our delivery people and service techs are making more money, so we’ve seen less turnover and improved morale.”
LESS WORRY ABOUT NEGATIVE REVIEWS
Since implementing Podium, Sherman’s has seen impressive results. Most notably in the Google star rating of its three locations. Prior to using Podium, the business’ Google rating hovered in the low 4s, but it now steadily sits at a 4.8 across all locations.
Overall, Sherman’s has seen a 40% increase in reviews across all of the sites it is monitoring since implementing Podium, while collecting 726 new reviews in about 3 months time. Because the business has a high volume of quality reviews coming in on a daily basis, it is less worried about negative reviews when they come in.“Podium has enabled us to respond to those reviews, offer an apology and a solution, and then move on,” said Weiss.
FOCUS ON FACEBOOK
One of the features that Weiss has found most valuable from Podium is the ability to customize which review sites to emphasize in the invitation flow. After seeing tremendous success improving the business’ presence on Google, Weiss has now shifted focus to Facebook.
“We’re still at a 4.2 on Facebook, and we have nearly 600 reviews on there right now, so it’s going to take a little more time to improve than Google,” related Weiss. “But even in the short period of time we have emphasized Facebook, I have seen an increase. It’s awesome that we can focus on different sites given our needs at different times.”
But probably the biggest benefit Sherman’s has realized since implementing Podium is how the business has been able to set itself apart from the competition just by the sheer number of quality reviews it has been able to collect.
“When you search for an appliance store, a furniture store, or anything like that in our area on Google now, we not only show up as one of the main stores, but we have 10 times the reviews of our competitors and the review content is really helpful to potential customers,” concludes Weiss. “That makes it look like everyone shops here and loves us. It’s radically changed how we’re perceived online and is consistent with the experience we offer at Sherman’s.”